Via Ferrata Catinaccio d’Antermoia: A Thrilling Route To The Highest Summit In The Rosengarten Group

There are over 80 peaks in the Italian Dolomites that reach over 3000 meters, and Catinaccio d’Antermoia is one of them. It’s also the tallest summit in its group. Thanks to Via Ferrata Catinaccio reaching the top is easily accessible even to beginners making it an excellent possibility to bag one of the highest summits in the Dolomites. 

7 Details about Via Ferrata Catinaccio

1. Via Ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia – the stats:

Via Ferrata Catinaccio 22
  • Start / End: Rifugio Passo Principe (Grassleitenpasshuette)
  • Distance: 3 km / 1.8 mi (counting from the hut)
  • Elevation gain: 448 m / 1469 ft (counting from the hut)
  • Time required: 3-4 hours (counting from the hut)
  • Route difficulty: beginner
  • Map required: Tabacco 029 (Schlern – Rosengarten) or Tabacco 06 (Val Di Fassa)

2. How to get to the trailhead

The quickest way to reach via ferrata Catinaccio is to take the two-tier Vajolet Gondola that has its base in Pera di Fassa then walk 2,5 hours along a well-maintained path. If you are travelling with a car there are two parking lots at the bottom of the gondola.

TIP: Are you traveling by bus? Search for connections on the Sued Tirol Mobil website. The name of the end bus stop is Pera Di Fassa, Vajolet. I marked it on the map

3. Approach to Rifugio Passo Principe

  • Distance: 6.5 km / 4 mi
  • Elevation gain: 804 m / 2638 ft
  • Time required: 2.5 -3 hours
Rosengarten Traverse Rifugio Vajolet
Rifugio Preuss, Rifugio Vajolet, and the Vajolet towers in the background

It’s quite the hike to get to Passo Principe where the Via Ferrata Catinaccio starts. From the top of the gondola first follow the signs for Rifugio Gardeccia (ca. 30 minutes). From Rifugio Gardeccia take path no. 546 to Rifugio Vajolet (around 1 hour). Make sure to briefly stop here to admire the beautiful Vajolet towers visible to the left. 

The route then continues upward onto path no. 584 for another hour to Rifugio Passo Principe (Grassleitenpasshütte) –  one of my favorite mountain huts in the Dolomites.

Rosengarten Traverse Passo Principe 9
Mount Catinaccio on the approach to the Passo Principe Hut

The summit of Catinaccio will eventually be directly in front of you. I remember looking at it the first time and thinking, am I going to summit that? It looks scarier than it is.

Although everything is very well marked, it’s always best to visualize your journey so I recommend carrying a map. In this case, Tobacco Map No. 6 will do the job. 

4. Via Ferrata Catinaccio as part of a multiday hut-to-hut traverse

Rosengarten Traverse Passo Principe 11

Alternatively, you can reach Passo Principe along via ferrata Passo Santner. I have done it myself when hiking the hut-to-hut traverse of the Rosengarten group in the Dolomites. This is a great option if you have a few days and would like to tick off other via ferrata routes in this mountain group.

5. The map of the route

Click on the individual trail and a window will pop up with the stats. If you click on the huts you will be shown links to the websites where you can make the reservations.

  • blue trail: top of Vajolet gondola to Rifugio Passo Principe
  • yellow trail: Via Ferrata Catinaccio

6. Via Ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia: Route Description

Once you make it to Passo Principe, stand on the helipad with your back facing the hut. Directly in front of you is the scree path going up. That’s the path you will have to take.

Turn left and follow the ledge and the prominent red paint marks until you reach a ladder which you have to downclimb. After that, the route continues up in big zigzags.

There are a lot of exposed sections on Via Ferrata Catinaccio, but they are all very well-equipped with cables. With every meter of elevation gained, the views get better and better. You will be able to look down upon the path you hiked on to reach Passo Principe and get a perfect view into the heart of the Rosengarten group. 

The last 50 meters leading to the summit are very exposed and the cables disappear. I would lie if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit uneasy. Just make sure you go slowly and place your feet steadily. 

From the summit you can look down to Lake Antermoia, Marmolada – Dolomite’s highest peak, and Sassolungo – the prominent peak and one of the most iconic photo subjects in the area. Of course, it wouldn’t be Italy, if there wasn’t a cross on the summit.

The descent is on the other side of the mountain and similarly to the ascent, it’s signaled with red paint marks. The route down still involves a lot of cables. You will make it down to Antermoia Valley (Val D’Antermoia) in ca. one hour. From here you have to continue upward on path no. 584 to Passo Antermoia then across to Rifugio Passo Principe. 

7. Where to stay overnight?

Rosengarten Traverse Passo Principe 15
Passo Principe Hut

I highly recommend staying overnight in the Passo Principe Hut. Not only is it the most remarkable building structure I have seen in the Dolomites, but it also has the nicest atmosphere, a very cheerful owner, and a cute Border Collie named Chiaco to keep you company! 

If you have never stayed in an alpine hut before in this article you will learn all the details that you should know before you book your stay.

TIP: If the Passo Principe hut is full you can modify the route a bit and stay in the Antermoia hut. I marked both huts on the map.

Other great via ferratas in the Rosengarten group

Shop my via ferrata gear essentials

Black Diamond Helmet

Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it down the mountain. If it hits you on the head, it could have serious consequences. A helmet on your head (not inside your backpack) is necessary.

Shop on: Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

71gKk4U+f2S. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Try it before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness that will be comfortable to wear between the cable-protected sections when hiking.

edelrid basis cable kit special via ferrata set

Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard

A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.

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91P0f6XnFML. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.

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salewa womens wildfire edge approach shoes detail 6

Salewa Wildfire Edge Approach Shoes

My go-to pair of hiking shoes for easier trails or via ferrata, where I don’t need extra ankle support. They provide excellent grip on the rock and are very durable.

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reeloq

Reeloq Smartphone Securing System

If you want to take great photos on a via ferrata without worrying about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone-securing system that allows you to use your phone on any adventure. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal.

Shop on: REELOQ

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Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

6 Comments

  1. Hi Marta – On our second day, we are planning to go from Rifugio Santner to Rifugio Antermoia over VF Catinaccio. Could you tell me the best path to get to Refigio Antermoia from the VF Catinaccio? Thank you!

    • Hi Maggie. Thanks for following. You will be able to see Lago Antermoia from the summit of Catinaccio (providing the weather is good). Rifugio Antermoia is right next to it. Once you descend from the Summit of Catinaccio on the other side instead of turning right onto path no. 584 towards passo di Antermoia you turn left towards rifugio Antermoia. Don’t worry there will be signs. Also make sure to carry a map with you. Happy hiking!

  2. I’ve read that this VF is usually done West to East as you have done. We’ll want to do it in reverse. Any reason not to?

    We are experienced mountain hikers, but have only a little VF experience.

    • Hi Davide. I think most people do it from West to East because the approach is easier to Passo Principe. Whichever way you do it you will have to downclimb some via ferrata sections. There will be more downclimbig on the West side, but since it’s a beginner ferrata it shouldn’t pose a problem. Make sure you are properly equipped and know how to use the gear. I hope that helps.

  3. Hi Marta, we just did the Santner via ferrata as our first one and it was great!! But it took us way longer than you described, like 3hrs from rif Fronza to rif santner. How do you think the difficulty of santner compared to this one? We also found the descent from santner to rif vajolet quite challenging (slippery scree). Would love to hear your thoughts before we decide to attempt! 😊

    • Hi Katie. I am probably very late with the answer. I am sorry for not responding sooner but was off the grid for the past week. I will still leave an answer in case others are looking for the same info. To me via ferrata Catinaccio was easier when going up, but there is downclimbing involved to get down the mountain on the other side and I find downclimbing on a via ferrata more difficult than going up. As for the descent to rifugio Vajolet, yes it can be challenging, especially after it rained etc. Anyways I hope you decided to go up Catinaccio and had an awesome time!

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